This post will be a little different than usual. I don’t have a specific topic, and those who have been great enough to read this blog may realize that this has been generally less of a blog and more of a series of essays. This is one reason that I don’t post more often because if I did, this would devolve into a mere series of random thoughts.
So to the point: Am I losing my “libertarian” values? During the early days of Donald Trump’s campaign, I was highly critical of him. I went toward Ted Cruz because one of the most important things the Libertarians and Conservatives have in common is a love of the Constitution and limited government, and I thought that Sen. Cruz was the best person from any party in that aspect. When he bowed out and received very unfair insults from the Trump campaign, that’s when I first got turned on to the Libertarian Party and sent in my membership dues, started attending local meetings. I was rooting for the most Cruz-like option in the Libertarian party, Austin Petersen. Then HE lost the primary. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Austin Petersen, my TOP THREE choices, all out! So I did throw my support behind Gary Johnson, watched his two Town Halls with great interest. I put a Johnson/Weld bumper sticker on my car, attended local meetings, and got involved in a Facebook campaign.
Then something strange happened. It was now late August and Trump’s campaign was starting to turn the tide. At the same time, I found myself being able to defend Gary Johnson less and less to my conservative friends. And this was before the “Aleppo” incident. I re-took the isidewith.com quiz regularly and while Johnson still came in ahead of Trump, it was becoming closer and closer. There are areas such as national security, immigration, and abortion that I break strongly with the Libertarian base on. I do support the border wall, Trump’s immigration order because even as a Libertarian I have to weigh the liberty of those trying to make a better life, with American citizens who have the right not to be attacked, murdered, raped, or blown up by terrorists. I thought Gary Johnson was the most stable, the best human being among the major candidates, and at least on paper, the most qualified in terms of experience. Of the top three, he is easily the winner of the “beer test.” Personally I find him very likeable. But I was finding it tougher and tougher to reconcile areas that I disagreed strongly with him on, such as amnesty and religious freedom. His statement about having to be forced to bake a “gay wedding” cake, as much as I personally support same-sex marriage and getting the government out of marriage, I found to be against what I believe to be religious freedom. Yes I think that the Colorado couple was being bigoted, but as a Libertarian I stand with their right to express their religious freedom. Liberals used to be the party of “I disagree with what you say but will stand up for your right to say it” and I saw Johnson, while I still agreed with about 80-90% of his views, was too soft on many positions that I view as vital to our security. He would not have built the border wall and likely would have been pro-amnesty. Though I was optimistic that he would have cut back the social programs that attract illegals in the first place.
So I’ve been conflicted. I still hold firm to many Libertarian beliefs, and I think it’s a bad thing when members of a party bloc-vote with every party position. I’ve started to wonder if I’ve betrayed the Libertarian movement by supporting Donald Trump, despite his faults. I do disagree with Donald Trump on his economic plan. I think making deals with a few companies is a good start, and as a Pres-Elect it was the most one could expect. But it’s not a long-term solution. I want to see a balanced budget amendment, fiscal conservatism, and completely unfettered free trade. These are things that Donald Trump has not stood for. I disagree with the border tax. I wish he’d be less hard-nosed and confrontational with the media and Democrats (despite their horrid treatment of them), and I think that most Libertarians would take Trump over Hillary Clinton any day of the week. I have slightly more hope that he will end the War on Drugs and get the Federal government out of marriage, things that I break with the Conservatives on. I like what Stephen Crowder said on his show a few days ago, that Trump was not our first choice, but he’s taking such an attack from the Progressive far-left that we have to support him even if we don’t agree with everything he does. If I could have hand-picked my President, it would be a tortuous decision between Austin Petersen, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, and on three different days I’d probably make three different choices for three different reasons.
In conclusion, I guess what I’m rambling on about is that I believe that as Libertarians we have to take a pragmatic approach. Despite all of Trump’s flaws, he’s 100 times better than anything Hillary Clinton would be. I hope he will lower taxes and regulations which will bring jobs back. I hope he will dismantle Obamacare and end onerous regulations to bring the free market back to insurance. And yes I hope he will shore up our borders so that American citizens have the most chances to make use of jobs and the free market. I hope that we can implement extreme vetting so that we can keep our homeland safe. Does this make me a “bad Libertarian?” Well, I don’t think so because in the end, I think one thing that we can agree with Conservatives on is a return to personal freedom and low regulation. I continue to have hope that the Trump Administration will help make this come about.